The TOP 500 List: A Different Perspective

I have been watching the social chatter today about the latest Top500 supercomputing list and seeing companies, manufacturers, application vendors and even countries compete for mind share of this most recent list on twitter.

However, as I read about and explored this list, the things that jumped out at me were not the who’s number one, two, three … or who grew what number of spots ... but rather the trends that have occurred over time. These trends have not happened in the last 6 months or the last 6 years but instead over the course of nearly a decade of innovation

1)      Today, the #10 posting (a cluster using the 3-month old Xeon X5570 processor (Nehalem-EP)) delivers the same FLOPS performance capability equal to the entire June 2000 TOP 500 computers list. (see below)

top 500 over time jun 09 Performance_Development.png


2)      Also, the emergence of multi-core intel-based servers complemented by affordable open-source software solutions have enabled a transformation of how supercomputing performance is delivered. Intel based servers have gone from nearly “0” to nearly “400” over this decade.



I recently had the opportunity to co-present a webinar with Matt Jacob’s of Penguin Computing where we talked about how High Performance Computing is changing the way that businesses innovate, research, design, analyze and create. What used to be only done in large datacenters and universities are now available to mainstream IT and businesses.

This is extremely important for areas like health care, financial services, manufacturing and many other industries.  Equally important are the software technologies (intel cluster ready software) that can make clustering available and easy to use so that this performance capability can be tapped without a ton of complexity.

So, while the Top500 list may be interesting for bragging rights, what excites me and many of the end users that I talk to are is the power, affordability and accessibility that high performance computing has to mainstream business users and the innovation and creativity that brings to the marketplace.

How are you using computing perfomance to do things that once were not possible in your business?  Share your story with us !!!